Monday, Sept. 21, 2015
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Today's New Announcements

Wilson Hall southwest elevator offline Sept. 22-26

NALWO evening social - Oct. 7

FSPA officer nominations due today

Employee Art Show reception - Sept. 23

Back Pain and Spine Surgery Prevention Lunch and Learn - Sept. 24

Fermilab Arts Series: 10,000 Maniacs - Sept. 26

English country dancing in Kuhn Barn - Sept. 27

Workshop on Future Linear Colliders - register by Sept. 28

Access 2013: Level 2 / Intermediate - Oct. 7

Excel 2013: Level 2 / Intermediate - Oct. 8

Process Piping Design; Process Piping, Material, Fabrication, Examination, Testing - Oct. 13, 14, 15, 16

Python Programming Basics - Oct. 14, 15, 16

Interpersonal Communication Skills - Oct. 20

Managing Conflict (morning only) - Nov. 4

PowerPoint 2013: Introduction / Intermediate - Dec. 3

Python Programming Advanced - Dec. 9, 10, 11

Internet Explorer upgrade

OS X El Capitan (10.11) not yet certified for Fermilab use

Professional and Organization Development 2015-16 fall/winter course schedule

Fermilab Board Game Guild

Scottish country dancing moves to Kuhn Barn Tuesdays evenings

International folk dancing returns to Kuhn Barn Thursday evenings

Norris Recreation Center employee discount

Outdoor soccer


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From symmetry

Where the Higgs belongs

The Higgs doesn't quite fit in with the other particles of the Standard Model of particle physics. Image: Sandbox Studio with Ana Kova

If you were Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, and you carried a tiny green Jedi master on your back through the jungles of Dagobah for long enough, you could eventually raise your submerged X-wing out of the swamp just by using the Force.

But if you were a boson in the Standard Model of particle physics, you could skip the training — you would be the force.

Bosons are particles that carry the four fundamental forces. These forces push and pull what would otherwise have been an unwieldy soup of particles into the beautiful mosaic of stars and galaxies that permeate the visible universe.

The fundamental forces keep protons incredibly stable (the strong force holds them together), cause compasses to point north (the electromagnetic force attracts the needle), make apples fall off trees (gravity attracts the fruit to the ground), and keep the sun shining (the weak force allows nuclear fusion to occur).

In 2012, the Higgs boson became an officially recognized member of this family of fundamental bosons.

The Higgs is called a boson because of a quantum mechanical property called spin — which represents a particle's intrinsic angular momentum and characterizes how a particle plays with its Standard Model friends.

Bosons have an integer spin (0, 1, 2) which makes them the touchy-feely types. They have no need for personal space. Fermions, on the other hand, have a non-integer spin (1/2, 3/2, etc.), which makes them a bit more isolated; they prefer to keep their distance from other particles.

The Higgs has a spin of 0, making it officially a boson.

"Every boson is associated with one of the four fundamental forces," says Kyle Cranmer, an associate professor of physics at New York University. "So if we discover a new boson, it seems natural that we should find a new force."

Scientists think that a Higgs force does exist. But it's the Higgs boson's relationship to that force that makes it a bit of a black sheep. It's the reason that, when the Higgs is added to the Standard Model of particle physics, it's often pictured apart from the rest of the boson family.

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Sarah Charley

Video of the Day

Why I love neutrinos

Why I Love Neutrinos is a series spotlighting those mysterious, abundant, ghostly particles that are all around us. This installment features Professor Josh Klein of the University of Pennsylvania. View the one-minute video. Video: Fermilab
Photo of the Day


nature, flower, sunflower, garden
Sunflowers bloom at the Fermilab gardens. Photo: Barb Kristen, PPD
Tip of the Week: Sustainability

Clean, green restrooms

FESS architects and engineers remodeled atrium restrooms with sustainability in mind.

Have you had a chance to use the shiny new restrooms on the first floor of Wilson Hall? Did you notice the modern and sleek design? Not only does the final product look good, it has features and materials that do more to reduce pollution than the restrooms it replaced.

Andrew Federowicz, an architect in FESS, designed the remodel project. Through every project's design process, he researches the functionality, maintenance and sustainability of a material or product to help him make his choices.

The first-floor restrooms' low-flow fixtures have the EPA WaterSense label, indicating that they meet a particular standard of water efficiency, and were made by a company that uses renewable energy. The LED lights are energy-efficient. The stall partitions contain up to 67.5 percent postconsumer recycled content. The ceiling tiles contain up to 56 percent closed-loop recycled content, are 100 percent recyclable and are USDA-certified biobased. The Dyson Airblade hand dryer puts out 74 percent less carbon relative to equivalent paper towel use.

The atrium restroom gets plenty of traffic, but sustainability is just as important for lower-visibility construction projects. Federowicz and Emil Huedem, a FESS mechanical engineer, are working to incorporate the federal principles of a high-performance and sustainable building (HPSB) at Site 37 (home of Roads and Grounds). The team assessed the impact of a new space addition, and Huedem has given Federowicz a range of rated materials to choose from that meet the DOE Guiding Principles of an HPSB. This early design process will lead to a tighter seal around the addition to prevent heat or cooling loss and to minimize energy consumption. The building will be metered and monitored to ensure optimization of the space and its energy use.

FESS architects and engineers are busy designing new facilities and remodeling older ones throughout the site. All of the contracts for construction specify sustainability clauses.

"Sustainability is very important, and we try to implement it where it makes the most sense while considering maintenance and function," Federowicz said. "We consistently work with customers around the lab to incorporate even the smallest sustainable features to improve energy efficiency and sustainability."

Katie Kosirog

In the News

Focus: Radio signals may reveal cosmological structure

From Physics, Sept. 18, 2015

A basic goal of observational cosmology is mapping the three-dimensional distribution of matter in the Universe. Such efforts require accurate estimates of distances to faint, faraway galaxies, a task that has always been difficult. Two cosmologists now propose an entirely new way to gauge large-scale cosmological structure. The technique involves analyzing brief bursts of radio waves from a recently discovered class of astronomical objects—the further these signals travel, the greater the distortions that appear in them. The feasibility of the method depends, however, on as-yet unknown properties of the emission sources.

Comparison of the observed large-scale structure of the Universe to theoretical predictions is an important test of cosmological theories, but astronomers have few ways to estimate cosmological distances. They can measure the brightness of an object with a known intrinsic luminosity or measure the redshift of the object's spectrum, but both of these methods suffer from uncertainties or systematic biases. A new method to estimate large-scale structure potentially offers an independent perspective on an issue of fundamental significance.

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